This post today is for me. I am sharing it here with you, but I wrote it this morning for me. I woke up to a mess, to some kid fights, to a whole load of negative thoughts that spanned from feeling depressed about how little money I have to feeling annoyed with the government to wishing that my skinny jeans fit. This post is a reminder to myself – things I know but so easily forget. Check back tomorrow for PART TWO of yesterday’s post.
For most of us, it is easy to see what is wrong in our lives. We all know where we fall short, what we’d like to improve, what we don’t have, what we should have done differently. We can see with great clarity what is wrong with our mothers, our bank accounts, our employers, the government, our colleagues, and our bodies.
Sometimes we look for what is wrong under the guise of self-improvement, or the notion that we are helping others. I often tell myself, when I am being overly critical, that if I didn’t pay attention to my faults then I wouldn’t ever be able to fix them. I sometimes think I have things figured out for other people too and that all my harsh words, all my cynicism, all my fault-finding is for their own good – how else will they learn and recognize their own weaknesses? Even the government and the public school system and the big businesses, and especially Bank of America, could use a good dose of my negative opinions to assist them in fixing their incompetencies.
It seems like it should work. Pointing out all the ways my mother has let me down or failed to meet my needs should help her see how to be a better mother. Focusing on my own weaknesses and failures should bring them to the light so I can work on them and let them go. Looking for what’s wrong seems like it should work, but it doesn’t.
What really happens when we look for what is wrong, when we find fault, when we focus on what we don’t have, is that we feel depressed, disappointed, and complacent. Furthermore, the people and things we are finding fault with only become worse in our eyes.
The most powerful tool we have been given is the ability to change our perspective. It is a gift to be able to change our minds, to be able to choose to see, act, and feel differently. When I am able to do this, to change my perspective, the first thing I often notice is that the problem isn’t out there – it isn’t my mother, or the government, or my bank account, or my ex, or my weight, or even the weather.
When I look for what is wrong, the power to change is out there and for all my insightful criticism I am powerless to do anything about it. When I look for what is right, the power to change my world is mine. When I look for what is right, I invite all that is good in any given situation into my life. When I look for what is right, I feel good, I feel empowered, I feel inspired.
Do you believe that? Do you believe that there is good in EVERY situation, in EVERY person? I do. I don’t believe it is always easy to find that good and to see what is right, but I think looking for what is right is a skill that can be honed with time and frequent use.
I challenge you to try this, to try looking for what is right today. Don’t dismiss it as silly new age crap or one of those things that works for other people but not for you. Try it.
- When some crazy guy cuts you off in traffic, instead of cursing him for almost hitting you, thank him for just missing.
- When your mother lets you down for the one millionth time, instead of raving to yourself about how much she has screwed you up, thank her for giving you life and showing you a different way to be.
- When your bank account is at zero dollars, instead of letting your mind jump to all the worst case scenarios, choose thankfulness for what you do have even if it is just a can of soup.
- When you read an article about child trafficking, instead of cursing the world as a dark and nasty place full of evil people, choose to be thankful that you were able to find out about this atrocity and then look for what you can do to help.
“Most of us are just about as happy as we make up our minds to be.” Abraham Lincoln
Something I’ve noticed about my children is that even in a field full of weeds, they always seem to find the one tiny patch of flowers. What a peaceful way to live.